Pizza with Aubergine

This pizza has an unusual aubergine filling. Serve it, cut into zuedges, with drinks or serve it for supper with a green salad and some red wine, such as Bardolino.v oz. fresh yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

4 fl. oz. plus

1 tablespoon lukewarm water

8 oz. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 fl. oz. plus

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large aubergine , cut into J-inch slices and degorged

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Crumble the yeast into a small mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the 1 tablespoon of water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water.

Using your fingers or a spatula, gradu-ally draw the flour into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be clastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught- free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat the 4 fluid ounces of oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the aubergine slices and fry them, turning them frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are lightly browned on both sides. With a slotted spoon, remove the aubergine slices and set them aside to drain on kitchen paper towels.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the tomatoes with the can juice, the tomato puree, basil, salt and pepper. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 ‘F

These Pizza Canapes taste every bit as marvellous as they look – serve them as the perfect winter appetizer. (Gas Mark 8, 230°C). Using the 1 tea-spoon of olive oil, lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for 3 minutes. Cut the dough in half. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each dough half to a circle about J-inch thick. Carefully arrange the dough circles, well apart, on the prepared baking sheet.

Spoon half of the tomato sauce on to each dough circle and spread it out with the back of the spoon. Place the aubergine slices over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and arrange the Mozzarella slices on top.

Place the pizzas in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is cooked and the cheese has melted.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and transfer them to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.

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